Recent Posts:

Algae Oil Harvesting Breakthrough From OriginOil?

Eric Wesoff: April 23, 2009, 12:38 AM

Algae cultivation for biofuel applications is full of promise and hype.  Until one of the many companies working on the puzzle solves the cost issue -- algal biofuels remain a well-funded science project.  But now, OriginOil might have solved a few pieces of the cost puzzle with new lighting and new extraction technologies.

Harvesting oil from algae is an expensive and difficult challenge.  Algae must be separated from its growth medium -- water -- and the lipids in each algae cell must be extracted.  Companies are researching a variety of ways to filter the algae from water and to liberate the lipids from the algae -- ranging from chemical catalysts to bioconversion.

OriginOil...

California Allocates $176M to Clean Transportation

Michael Kanellos: April 22, 2009, 3:36 PM

The California Energy Commission will spend $176 million over the next two years on the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program. Come and get it!

The ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, decrease petroleum fuel use to 15 percent below 2003 levels by 2020, and increase alternative fuel use to 20 percent by 2020. Since transportation is responsible for about 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, hitting those goals will require plug-in vehicles, electric cars, and possibly even fuel cells.

The funding breaks down as follows: The Energy Commission will invest $46 million for electric vehicles, public...

Cisco’s ‘EcoMap’ to Give San Franciscans Carbon Footprint Bragging Rights, Guilt Trips

Jeff St. John: April 22, 2009, 12:59 PM

My zip code is greener than your zip code.

Soon enough, San Francisco residents will be able to engage in debates like these, thanks to the "Urban EcoMap" being launched by Cisco Systems.

The map, developed with the City and County of San Francisco's Department of the Environment, will give people free insight into data such as carbon emissions from transportation, energy use and waste, broken out by zip code — once it's available to the public on May 21.

(While Cisco chose Earth Day to announce the map, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom let slip some details about it last month at the Green:Net 09 conference.)

Beyond the potential for sparking inter-neighborhood battles over which...

Walmart Goes Solar

Fredrik Wass: April 22, 2009, 12:59 PM

Today Walmart announced it is going to double its use of solar panels on its own facilities, possibly setting a trend more commercial players in California could follow, said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Within 18 months, Walmart wants to expand its sustainable energy efforts by adding solar panels on 10 to 20 Walmart facilities in California. That will be in addition to the 18 solar arrays that are currently installed with existing facilities. The supplier of the new solar panels for Walmart is BP Solar.

After the new solar panels are in place, the total capacity of renewable energy coming from the Walmart facilities will be 32 million kilowatt hours per year, reducing carbon dioxide...

Nissan Partners With Oak Ridge Nat’l Labs for Tennessee Charging Stations

Michael Kanellos: April 22, 2009, 12:26 PM

Nissan, which wants to bring electric commuter cars to the U.S. in 2010, will work with Oak Ridge National Labs to "promote" the development of electric vehicles and a charging infrastructure in the state. The lab, along with other national labs, has been at the forefront of trying to figure out if the existing grid can handle electric cars and, if not, what needs to be improved.

Some of the work will involve experimenting with ways solar and hydroelectric power can be exploited for the charging infrastructure.

This marks the second announcement in a few weeks from Nissan on charging stations. It is also working with ECOtality to build charging stations in Arizona.

Which, of course,...

Six VCs Sitting Around Talking

Eric Wesoff: April 22, 2009, 1:13 AM

Another day, another greentech event in Silicon Valley.

This event comes to you from high above San Jose at what appears to be the last bastion of the world of wood-paneled gentlemens’ clubs at The Silicon Valley Capital Club.  No denim allowed according to the invite from the Environmental Business Cluster.

Each of the investors on Tuesday’s panel highlighted one of their greentech portfolio’s pet investments and in some cases said something interesting.  Here’s the rundown:

Susan Preston / General Partner at CalCEF
CalCEF is a small angel fund we covered here in CalCEF Angels.

Preston highlighted her firm’s investment in HID Labs, an innovator in high intensity discharge lighting...